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Minnesota became the latest state to attempt to regulate tech companies that rely on gig workers. Earlier this week, the state Senate passed a bill guaranteeing drivers at rideshare companies, Uber and Lyft, a minimum wage of $1.34 per mile and an additional $0.34 per minute.
The bill could have longstanding implications for the compensation and benefits companies must provide drivers and delivery workers and is the latest state legislation for app-based gig work, following the passage of similar laws in California, Massachusetts, and Washington.
Most of these bills center on whether to classify gig workers as independent contractors or employees. As employees, workers would be eligible for benefits, minimum wage, and paid time off. However, these proposals are often met by coordinated, big-money campaigns backed by tech companies like Uber, Lyft, Postmates, and Instacart that aim to provide concessions to labor activists in the form of guaranteed wages or benefits to maintain their independent contractor classification.
Massachusetts, for instance, has two statewide, industry-backed bills: One that would provide rideshare drivers a minimum pay of $0.26 per mile and another that would allow them to opt into a flexible benefit account. Meanwhile, a competing labor-supported bill would allow drivers to unionize and collectively bargain for working conditions.
California, which has been vocal in the gig work debate, is locked into a yearslong judicial back-and-forth to define gig workers’ rights. It filed an appeal in April to overturn a previous court ruling classifying gig workers as independent contractors.
In Seattle, local government officials proposed a bill earlier this month limiting companies’ ability to terminate rideshare drivers without warning. Since gig workers aren’t considered employees, they’re afforded fewer job protections and are not eligible for severance pay.
What’s interesting about the various bills proposed by labor advocates is their piecemeal approach to guaranteeing employment protections for gig workers—protections they would otherwise receive in one fell swoop were they to be categorized as employees.
The most compelling data, quotes, and insights from the field.
Employers have braced for a recession for months. But some economists predict the U.S. will instead enter an “asset class recession" in which unemployment doesn’t take a major hit, but markets and asset values decline.
“The most-anticipated recession in recent U.S. history might not be as imminent as once thought if historically low unemployment sticks around the way it has been. CEOs seem to have wised up to this, with a huge dip in mentions of looming economic downturn during recent earnings calls,” writes Fortune’s Tristan Bove.
Around the Table
A round-up of the most important HR headlines, studies, podcasts, and long-reads
- Women are employed at record levels, reversing pandemic-era declines. Bloomberg
- People with little to do at work aren’t sure how to bring it up to their boss. Vox
- Employees want a four-day workweek, but without the proper incentives, it’s unlikely to become the norm. Washington Post
- In a sign of what's to come, a company that makes A.I. tools for lawyers says it uses the technology for an average of 280 monthly tasks. Semafor
- Allergy season has workers fed up with returning to the office. Wall Street Journal
Everything you need to know from Fortune
Work-life recession. Young employees worry that worsening economic conditions could erode their work-life balance. —Chloe Berger
A.I. prep. A roundtable of CEOs agrees that although A.I. could increase productivity, organizations must train employees to use the new technology. —John Tell
Amazon’s RTO strife. About 1,000 Amazon employees are planning a walkout on Friday over the company’s return-to-office policies. —Chloe Berger
Protecting employees. Target removed certain Pride month-themed merchandise after angry customers threatened store employees. —Anne D’Innocenzio
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